UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge Awards Top Honors to NeuroMap

6/16/11Follow @bvbigelow

The concept for a life sciences startup put together by neuroscientists, a psychiatrist, and MBA student received the top prize—and $57,000 in cash and services—in UCSD’s fifth annual student-managed business plan competition.

The proposal for NeuroMap, a seed-stage life sciences startup, was pulled together by Alexey Terskikh, a neuroscientist specializing in development and aging at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute; Dmitri Sivstov, a psychiatrist at UCSD Medical School; Andrew Rabinovich, a bio-engineering researcher at UCSD; and Daniel Norton of the Rady School of Management. They outlined a commercialization plan for assays developed to determine the efficacy of antidepressant medications for individual patients, an approach to personalized medicine with the potential to reshape a specialty now dominated by “trial and error” prescriptions. The team estimates its technology would be able to save insurance providers and patients $2,500 per patient.

The second prize, which includes $28,000 in cash and services, was awarded to DevaCell, a molecular diagnostics startup led by UCSD electrical engineering doctoral candidate Inanc Ortac and recent Ph.D graduates Ahmet Erten and Corbin Clawson. DevaCell has focused on using advanced detection technology to help healthcare providers screen for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the potentially deadly multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Third prize, and $15,500 in cash and services, was awarded to Interra Energy leader Thomas Del Monte for a system that turns biomass products into natural gas and soil amendment.

The 5th Annual UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge Business Plan Competition also awarded $2,000 prizes to the top entry in five categories: iConsent Medical (HighTech/IT); Oculeve (Biotech/Life Sciences); Interra Energy (Clean Technology); Mobcuts (Social Entrepreneurship/Consumer Product); and Lifelens (Undergraduates). The competition has operated as a wholly student and volunteer organization that hosts a series of free, public educational workshops on the commercialization process, networking events, and competition events each year.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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